1. You will suffer (verse 10a).
2. You will glory (verse 10b-11).
3. Stand firm (verse 12).
4. Love one another (verse 13-14).

As many of you know, we had a handful of women from our church attend the "True Woman" conference in Shaumburg this week. [1] As my wife came back, she told me much of what took place this weekend. One of the things that she showed me the "True Woman Manifesto," which is a document that was put together before the conference and shared at the conference concerning the beliefs and practices of a godly woman to which those organizing the conference called all women in attendance to embrace. At one point in the conference, they read through this manifesto and gave all the woman in attendance an opportunity to respond to what it said, both orally and with written signatures.

This document addresses God's plan for men and women in creation and the terrible results of the fall. It addresses Christ's work to redeem us from our sin and despair. It addresses the authority of Scripture, the sanctifying work of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. It addresses the role of women as honoring and supporting God-ordained male leadership. It addresses marriage and human life and children. [2]

I want to read one paragraph for you. It reads, "Suffering is an inevitable reality in a fallen world; at times we will be called to suffer for doing what is good--looking to heavenly reward rather than earthly comfort--for the sake of the gospel and the advancement of Christ's Kingdom." In a document committed to describing what it means to be a godly women, the issue of suffering was addressed head on. Not only was the issue addressed head on. It was also right on. God works his plan in this life through suffering.

As we have spent time with Peter over this past year, we have seen his theme, "Suffer Now, Glory Later," come over and over and over again.The reality is that in this life, we will face suffering. But, to those who believe, God, in His grace, has a greater plan for this suffering. And though it will bring us into His glory. Trouble and hardship and difficulty and suffering are the lot in this life. Job says that "man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). But, for the believer in Christ, all is not doom and gloom. We can anticipate a time of glory later, that will make all of the suffering we have experienced in life pale in comparison. Paul wrote, "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom. 8:17). Elsewhere, he said, "momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2 Cor. 4:17). This is the message of 1 Peter: "Suffer Now, Glory Later."

As we come to the last five verses in 1 Peter, we again see this theme spelled out clearly for us. Edmund Clowney said in his commentary, "Peter closes his letter as he began it, rejoicing in the royal grace of God in Christ. The hope that will sustain the church through its fiery trial of suffering is hope in the sovereign grace of God." [3]

Appropriately, my message this morning is entitled, "Suffer Now, Glory Later - Revisited." So, please bear with me one last Sunday in 1 Peter, reflecting upon the suffering we face now and the glory that will come to us later.

1 Peter 5:10-14
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God Stand firm in it! She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

I trust that you can see Peter's theme in verse 10. In that one verse, he mentions both the suffering now and the glory later. Look at it again. "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His enter glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."

Let's turn our attention to my first point, ...

1. You will suffer (verse 10a).

This is the reality of the Christian life. You will suffer. This is Peter's assumption in this verse, "After you have suffered."

Suffering has been the theme of Peter's throughout this epistle. He introduces the topic in chapter 1, verse 6 by describing the sufferings that we will face as "various trials." In other words, the sufferings that you will face will be wide-ranging and diverse. They will come from all sorts of sources. Some will come from your flesh. Others will come from those in the world. Others will come from the church, and yes, even from your own family. They will be different in scope and intensity. Some will be deep and long lasting. Some will come and go quickly. That's why Peter calls them "various." Literally, they are "multi-colored." They are "multi-faceted." And everyone's sufferings will be a bit different. Your suffering will be different than my suffering. And my suffering will be different than your suffering.

After beginning his epistle with a general statement that suffering will come, Peter then continues to list several specific ways in which those to whom he was writing were suffering. He writes, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul" (2:11). In this case, we see the suffering coming from our flesh. He describes the pain as war. War is never a pleasant time for anyone. It's a very difficult time. And Peter here pictures our Christian life as a war, filled with unpleasantries as we wage war against the fleshly desires of our bodies.

Now, this battle is particularly for believers in Christ, who have submitted their hearts and minds to Jesus. It is for those who have seen their sin and have come to hate it, because they know how much it cost Jesus to forgive it! And so, when their lusts rise up within them, there is a desire to stay away from them. But, our flesh is relentless. It pulls us toward these sinful desires. It's a battle. It's a war within us. And the suffering is real.

Peter continues to outline the various ways in which your suffering may come in the next verse, writing, "Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation" (2:12).

In this instance, Peter is identifying the sort of suffering that will come upon us by those around us. These could be your neighbors or your co-workers or class-mates. This could be your unbelieving family members or your golfing buddies. In this instance, Peter describes you doing good things and being slandered for it. They are calling you evil for doing what is right. You go to church, and they ridicule you because you won't join with them on the golf course. You homeschool your children, and they say that you are out of touch with the world and trying to indoctrinate your children. You spank your children, and they accuse you of abusing your child. You share the gospel with them, and they are offended at Christ, calling you a narrow-minded bigot. You are doing what is right, but suffering for it. Perhaps, that's the most painful sort of suffering. You are walking the righteous path, but you are facing difficulties all around.

Beginning with the next verse (2:13), Peter brings up the governing authorities. Now, there is no explicit mention of suffering at their hands. However, in the days of Peter, the government wasn't always too friendly toward Christians. It was probably the case that those who received this letter were facing some opposition from the government, either in ungodly laws or in actual persecution for embracing this new religion.

Soon after this, Peter continues to mention the theme of suffering by addressing servants.

1 Peter 2:18-20
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrow when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

Now, in many ways, these words apply to our modern-day work force: "Employees, be submissive to your employers with all respect, whether you have a good boss or whether you have a bad boss." In doing so, there may be instances in which you suffer. Your boss may compel you to work extensive overtime. Your boss may refuse you from vacation due to the work that is coming in. Because of your Christian profession, your boss may hold you to a higher standard, which is a bit unfair to you. Perhaps he is demanding that you to do something unethical, in which you cannot submit, whereby your suffering is increased. But, any such suffering you may experience from these things is small in comparison to what a slave might face. Your employment is voluntary. You can always go out and get another job. But, a slave had no choice. He had to continue to serve his master.

Peter continues to catalog the suffering that others may experience at the beginning of chapter 3 in which he mentions a believing wife who is married to an unbelieving husband. In that case, Peter gives the counsel, "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior" (3:1-2).

A mixed marriage is a recipe for great suffering. Such marriages have differing world-views in the home. There are conflicts about money. Should our money go toward God's kingdom or ourselves? There are conflicts about priorities. Should I go to church without you? Will you come with me? There are conflicts about time. Will we spend our days in our own pleasure or in serving others? There are conflicts about our children. Will we send our children to Christian school? Along with the conflict comes great agony in the soul, when you realize that you are one flesh with someone who is opposite to you in every way.

After these specific instances, Peter then continues to speak of some general suffering that takes place. He speaks of being on the receiving end of evil or insult (3:13). Later, Peter mentions "suffering for the sake of righteousness" (3:14). Peter also mentions "being slandered" (3:16) and "suffering for doing what is right" (3:17).

Early in chapter 4, Peter mentions suffering that comes at the hands of your former non-Christian friends. When Christ comes into your life, you will no longer want to engage in your former sinful activities. Rather, you will naturally turn away from the things that you used to do. But, "In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you."

Finally in verses 12-19, Peter talks plainly about the suffering that will come upon you as a believer in Christ.

1 Peter 4:12-19
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

The Christian life is a life of suffering. This is understandable as our leader suffered. Throughout this letter, Peter keeps this fact in the forefront as he alludes to the work of Christ on our behalf. Jesus suffered for us, bearing our sins in His body upon the cross (2:24). Though he was righteous, He suffered for the unrighteous (3:18). Our hope in our suffering is that we have One who will redeem us through our suffering (1:18-21). The very path through which we are saved from our sins is the very example for us to follow in our sufferings (2:21-25). His suffering was also an example for us to follow (2:21). The way of the Christian is the way of the cross.

The way of the cross is the way of suffering. But, let's keep it in perspective. Peter calls all of our suffering, only "a little." He says in our text this morning, "After you have suffered for a little while." Last week, I mentioned the book, Jesus Freaks, which I plan to read to my children. It's a book containing about a hundred short testimonies of those who have suffered greatly for their faith, even to the point of martyrdom. I want to read for you a portion from this book which illustrates Peter's point here. The story is told of a youn girl in mainland China during the Red Guard Era (1966-1969). This girl was tortured again and again, but still refused to disclose the secrets of the underground church. When asked how she could bear so much suffering, she said, ...

It was not hard. I had been taught by my pastor that the real torture lasts very little. For one minute of torture, there are ten minutes of glancing at the enraged faces and the implements of pain. I decided to keep my eyes closed the whole time. I did not see the stick before it hit me or afterward. The suffering was much reduced. [4]

Later, the Communists in China became aware of her strategy, so they stuck her eyelids open with tape. However, she had seen the Lord's faithfulness so many times before that she was able to continue bearing with the torture.

What kept this girl faithful in torture? It was the realization that the suffering was only for a little while. In reality, any suffering that you will experience here upon the earth will always be, "a little while." Your former friends may malign you, but soon, they will disappear from your life. Those who revile you and slander you will soon come to ruin themselves, as Proverbs 6:12-15 makes clear. "A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, ... therfore his calamity will come suddenly." God will take care of the one who is slandering you. If you suffer at that hands of a poor employer, just wait a little bit and you may have a new supervisor, or you may find another job. In our country, we elect a new government every four years. So, any political oppression we might face has a hope of being resolved in a few years. What's four years in light of your life? It's not very long. That's why Peter can say that your suffering is "for a little while."

Now, admittedly, some forms of suffering will last longer than this. If you are married to an unbeliever, your suffering may well last twenty, thirty, even fifty years. Some of you may be suffering physically, and your suffering may not finally come to an end until you pass away, and be with Christ. But, in light of eternity with Christ, even this isn't very long.

There is significance to Jesus talking about "eternal life" (John 3:16; 6:40). It means that the life that we have in Christ will continue forever and ever and ever and ever. We will dwell in the house of the LORDforever (Ps. 23:6). And anything compared with infinity is infinitesimally small; even a life of hardship.

Joni Eareckson Tada wrote about her sufferings in light of eternity. Having spent the last forty years of her life in a wheelchair, she said, "Our afflictions have shown us something cosmic is at stake. After just five minutes of heaven, I promise you, will make up for everything." [5] This is a similar sentiment to Eliza Hewitt's hymn, ...

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay. [6]

Perhaps when Joni Eareckson Tada said, "five minutes," she was a bit off. The stanza above seems to indicate that even one glimpse of heaven will make it all right. This thought leads us nicely into my second point, where the good news comes. Not only will you suffer, but, ...

2. You will glory (verse 10b-11).

"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (verse 10). Here's the promise: God will bring you into His eternal glory in Christ. Just as your suffering is real, so also will your joy with Christ be forever. It is a sure thing. If you are a believer in Christ, you have a glorious inheritance awaiting you.

Back in chapter 1, Peter describes this inheritance with these words: Our inheritance is "imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away" (1:4). Your inheritance in Christ is far better than you even know. And it is guaranteed for you who believe. He is the one who has called you. He is the one who has brought you to Himself. He will bring you to His eternal glory. This promise is sure.

At the end of verse 10, we see the work that God will do to get you into His eternal glory. He will perfect you. He will confirm you. He will strengthen you. He will establish you. In many ways, all of these words mean exactly the same thing. They are synonyms. There is only subtle differences between these words. This can be seen in all of the translations. Every single word here is translated differently in each of the major translations. And none of the major translations agree completely.

NASB - God will: perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
NKJV - May God: perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
ESV - God: will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
NIV - God: will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Consider these four words.

1) The first is translated, He will "perfect" you (NASB, NKJV) or He will "restore" you (ESV, NIV). That is, He will "make you right." He will "fix" you. This word here translated, "perfect" is the orthopaedic word. God will set your bones straight. Whatever was wrong with your body will be made right. Whatever was wrong with your spirit will be made right.

2) The second term is translated, He will "confirm" you (NASB, ESV) or He will "establish you" (NKJV). This word comes from the word from which we get, "steroids." The NIV is closest to the idea: He will "make you strong." (NIV). This has reference to both your physical weaknesses as well as your spiritual weaknesses. All of your frailty will be transformed into vitality. All of your doubts will be turned into faith.

3) The third term is translates, He will "strengthen" (NASB, NKJV, ESV) you or "make you firm" (NIV). This is a very rare word, used only here in the Greek New Testament. It has the idea of standing strong. God will firmly plant your feet, so that you will never be moved away from His eternal glory.

4) The fourth term is translated, He will "establish" you (NASB, ESV) or "settle" you (NKJV) or "make you steadfast" (NIV). This word comes from the word, "foundation." It has the idea of security and immovability. God will ground you, so that you will be secure forever in His eternal glory.

All of that to say this: Your future is secure! The God who "called you into His eternal glory" will perfect you. He is able to keep you. God is strong and mighty enough to insure that these things come to pass. This is the point of verse 11, "To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen." Throughout all eternity, God will be worshiped for His greatness. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing: "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever" (Revelation 5:12, 13). "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belongs to our God." (Rev. 19:1) "Hallelujah! For the lord ou God, the Almighty reigns" (Revelation 19:6). God is strong enough and powerful enough to guarantee that you will be perfected, confirmed, strengthened and established. He is the sovereign, Lord of the universe! (Psalm 93). No one is able to ward off His hand (Dan. 4:35). Such is the promise of God.

This is the thought that Peter started with back in chapter 1. When he spoke of the inheritance that we would receive, he writes that we are "protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1:5). When God brings us forth as spiritual beings by way of the new birth, He doesn't merely let us go to try to figure life out on our own. No, He protects us. He puts His arms around us and holds on to us and protects us and keeps us and guards us until the final day. Verse 10 points this out. God doesn't "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish" you from a distance. On the contrary, He, Himself, is intimately involved in the process. Look again at verse 10, "the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." God is actively involved in completing your salvation. And in this do we find our security.

Richard Sibbes said it well, "The safety of the baby in the mothers arms is not that the baby clings to the mother, but that the mother holds the baby." [7]

Last week, we considered the power and strength of the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion. His aim is to devour you and pull you away from the Lord. But, as powerful as the lion is, the Lord will prevail over the devil. God will bring our salvation to completion. He is strong enough to protect us from all who would pull us away. That includes the devil. That includes any demons sent by him. That includes governmental authorities (2:13ff). That includes unreasonable masters (2:18ff). That includes unbelieving husbands or wives (3:1ff). That includes those who tempt you to sin (4:3-4). That includes those who slander you (2:12) and insult you (3:9) and harm you (3:13).

God is greater than all of them! He will keep you until the final day! This is your hope in your fight against the roaring lion. This is your hope in your fight against your flesh that so easily turns us to pride. Your hope in any humility that you may possess is not that you need to defend yourself in any way, but that you trust in the mighty hand of God to be the one to exalt you at the proper time (5:6).

Peter begins and ends his letter on the same theme. He begins by saying that God has given us a salvation and has protected us by His power until our salvation is fully and finally realized. He ends by saying that God will bring us into His eternal glory. And you ask, "Why does He do this?" Because God who called you to Himself is "the God of all grace" (verse 10). Salvation is all of grace. Ephesians 2:8, 9 "It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God not as a result of works, that no one may boast." Our security in Christ is all of grace.

If there is any grace to bestow, it comes from the hand of God. I can do no better at this point than to read Spurgeon's comments on this phrase. He said, ...

[It is not] the God of little graces we have received already, but the God of the great boundless grace which is stored up for us in the promise, but which as yet we have not received in our experience. 'The God of all grace;' of quickening grace, of pardoning grace, of believing grace--the God of comforting, supporting, sustaining grace. Surely, when we come to him we cannot come for too much. If he be the God, not of one grace, or of two graces, but of all graces; If in him there is stored up an infinite, boundless, limitless supply, how can we ask too much?, even though we ask that we may be perfect. [8]

God's grace doesn't only come yesterday when He saved you. God's grace doesn't only come today when He sustains you. But, God's grace will come in the future as He brings you into His eternal glory. Looking forward to that day will sustain you this day.

In 1555, John Bradford, pastor of St. Paul's in London, was inprisoned for his faith in Christ. After more than two years in prison, he was finally sentenced to death by burning at the stake. Along with him was a teenage boy, John Leaf, who also refused to deny his faith. Shortly before being taken to the martyr's pyre, they both prayed for an hour, flat on the ground in humility before their God. Finally upon the pyre, John Bradford turned his head toward the teenager and said, "Be of good comfort, brother, for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord tonight!" [9]

What sustained John Bradford in his martyrdom? The future hope of glory that awaited him. This hope will also sustain you in your life's trials as well.

The reality of the Christian life is this: (1) You will suffer (verse 10a), and You will glory (verse 10b-11). Let's turn our focus now upon my third point, ...

3. Stand firm (verse 12).

Now, in verse 12, Peter begins to wrap up this letter. But, even in his wrap-up, there is counsel for us. Peter writes, "Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!" Now, before we look at Peter's admonition to "stand firm," let's talk a bit about the first half of verse 12.

At the beginning of the verse, Peter mentions Silvanus. He is probably better known as "Silas," who accompanied the apostle Paul on several of his journeys. (Silvanus is simply a long-form of Silas, much like Michael and Mike or William and Bill.) He was probably the messenger who delivered the letter for Peter, who addressed his letter to the scattered believers, who were "scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1:1). Peter's audience was large. He didn't merely send the letter to a handful of cities. He sent his letter to a handful of regions, each comprised of many cities.

In those days, you couldn't write an email and copy everyone. Nor was it so easy to send a copy of your letter to everyone individually. And so, Peter wrote one letter and sent it by Silvanus, who, in turn went and visited the believers who were scattered throughout these regions throughout Asia minor, which is modern day Turkey.

When you look on a map, you discover that it is entirely possible to travel these regions one after another, in sequential order. Silvanus (or, Silas, if you prefer) may well have taken this letter to Pontus first. And then, he traveled southeast to Galatia. After which, he traveled south to Cappadocia. Then, he headed back northwest to Asia. Finally, he traveled north to Bithynia, returning to Rome, where Peter probably wrote the letter.

At each of these stops, he certainly sought out the believers in the city, visiting the churches, (if there were any) reading this letter to them and ministering to the saints in whatever way he was able. It's not an accident that Peter gives his commendation of him. Peter regards him as being a "faithful brother." He was one who was dependable to get the job done. He was one who could be trusted.

But, now getting to our application from verse 12, Peter says, "I have written to you briefly exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!" When Peter thinks about what he wrote, he considers it all to be "the true grace of God." Every exhortation, every truth about Christ, is the true grace of God.

As you think through the letter, you can easily get this feel. It's God's great mercy that "has caused us to be born again" (1:3). It's God's grace that gives us such a great inheritance (1:4). It is God's grace that protects us by His power (1:5). It is God's grace that sustains us through trial (1:7). It is God's grace that gave us the suffering Messiah (1:11). It is God's grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1:13). It is God's grace that we may become "obedient children" (1:14). It is God's grace that we have a desire to be holy like He is holy (1:15). It is God's grace that redeemed us (1:18). It is God's grace that is building us up as a "spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (2:5). It is God's grace that has "called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (2:9). It is God's grace that made you to be the people of God (2:10). It is God's grace that He showed you such mercy (2:10). It is God's grace that we have the desire to fight against our fleshly lusts (2:11). It is God's grace that we can be sustained when being slandered for our faith (2:12). It is God's grace that will give us the heart to submit to our governing authorities (2:13). It is God's grace that brings us to be "bondslaves of God" (2:16). It is God's grace that enables us to be submissive to unreasonable masters (2:18). It is God's grace that Christ bore our sins in His body on the cross (2:24). It is God's grace that He has brought us back into the fold, though we were wandering sheep (2:25).

We could go through chapters three, four and five as I have done for the first two chapter, reflecting upon God's grace in our lives. To this grace, we are to "stand firm in it (5:12). This sounds like Paul's exhortation to Timothy, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1). Sometimes we can see grace like we see mercy, God witholding from us what we deserve and letting us get by with our failures. However, grace is active. When the writer to the Hebrews wrote about Christ interceeding for us, he wrote that we are to approach the thone of grace, that we might "receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). Grace is actively helping. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he said, "I labored more than all fo the apostles, yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (1 Cor. 15:10). The grace of God works in us and helps us. We need to stand firm on trusting and relying upon God to carry us through our sufferings.

We are to "stand firm" in the things concerning which he wrote. How can you do this? Only by His grace can you stand firm in HIs grace.

A great illustration of this comes from Russia in the 1960s with a woman named Nadejda Slobada. She was sentenced to prison for four years for her faith in Christ, away from her husband. While in prison, her five children were taken from her against her will and sent to an athiestic boarding school. The story continues, ...

In prison, Sister Sloboda told other prisoners about Christ. For this, she was confined in an unheated, isolated cell, where she had to sleep on the cold, concrete floor without a mattress. Prosoners find it impossible to sleep in such conditions: Even the walls are too cold to lean against comfortably. Some report that by standing with just their forehead touching the wall, they could manage to sleep enough to survive for a few days.

Yet Sister Sloboda was kept in this cell for two months! Not only that, during the day she was put to hard labor with the other prisoners. The Communists expected that the lack of sleep combined with the hard labor would completely ruin her heath and break her resolve to stand for her fath. Yet, she never weakened.

Everybody asked, "How can you endure it?"

She answered, "I fall asleep on the cold concrete floor trusting in God and it becomes warm around me. I rest in the arms of God." [10]

This is standing firm in grace. It is going to sleep on the cold floor and resting in God's grace to keep you warm. Perhaps for you, there is one particular area of need for particular grace. Where you really need to stand firm?. All of Peter's hearers weren't facing all of these difficulties. But each of them had particular areas in which they neede to stand frim in His grace.

Where do you need to stand firm in His grace? Your flesh? Your friends? The government? Your job? Your family? Perhaps you might stop right now and think of the most pressing need in your life at this time. When Peter exhorted us in this letter, he focused our hearts upon doing what is right and suffering for it. So, trust the grace of God to do what is right. Trust in the grace of God to carry you through the difficulties that come about as a result of doing whta is right. Spend some time praying over the most pressing issue in your life, pleading for God's grace to help in your time of need. May God in His grace give you strength to stand firm.

Finally, we come to my fourth point, ...
4. Love one another (verse 13-14).

This comes from verses 13-14, "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ."

"She who is in Babylon" is probably a reference to the church where Peter wrote this letter, pulling the imagery from the Old Testament. The church now resides in the pagan lands as a light and beacon of the truth. "Mark" is with Peter. Mark is the same one who wrote the gospel of Mark. There is an intimate connection between Mark and Peter. This is why many say that Peter was Mark's primary source in writing his gospel. He sends his greetings as well. So, we have a church and an individual sending greetings to these scattered believers.

Sending your greetings to one another is an expression of love. We do this all the time. You are talking to someone who is off to see another friend of yours. And so, you say, "Say hello for me, will you please?" In so doing, we are expressing our love for others. And this is taking place in verse 13.

In verse 14, Peter encourages the church to greet each other with kisses of love. This is one of those cultural elements that doesn't quite transfer to our culture. In the culture of Peter's day, it was common for people to greet one another with a kiss. It still takes place today in some places in Europe.

About a year ago, I attended a wedding attended by many Russian people. As we were first arriving at the church, we happened to meet the father of the bride. He spoke English very well, but you could tell that he had a Russian accent. As we were talking to him, another man came up to him, he turned to see who it was. When he did, his face lit up as if he hadn't seen him in a long time. They quickly kissed each other on his lips! It was a bit strange to me, but not to them. This is a standard way in which they express their love and care for others, with no romantic suggestions whatsoever. (It's not going to fly at Rock Valley Bible Church.)

But, the point ought to be well-made. We ought to show physical affection for each other as a demonstration of love. Wayne Grudem says it well in his commentary on 1 Peter, ...

It is much harder to get mad at someone you have just hugged or kissed, and it is much easier to feel accepted in a fellowship which has given such a warm welcome. "Give each other a handshake all around" [how Philips translates the phrase] is far to distant and formal--probably a 'holy hug' would come much closer to fulfilling Peter's intention. And it should be a genuine expression of love in Christ. [11]

How many people did you hug the last time you came to church? Side-hugs are good. Such are better than a cold hand-shake.

We have one last phrase, "Peace be to you all who are in Christ." In the midst of much suffering, you need peace. This is my heart for all of us. May the peace of God come into our hearts and help us through our difficulties.

With that, we end our exposition of 1 Peter.

This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on October 12, 2008 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.

[1] See http://www.truewoman.com/ for details on the conference.

[2] You can read the True Woman Manifesto here: http://www.truewoman.com/assets/files/TW08_Manifesto.pdf

[3] Edmund Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter, p. 217.

[4] Jesus Freaks, p. 247.

[5] Joni Eareckson Tada, The God I Love, p. 341.

[6] Eliza E. Hewitt, When We All Get To Heaven.

[7] Richard Sibbes, as quoted by Mark Dever in an interview conducted on September 1, 2007. You can find the interview on http://9marks.org/.

[8] Charles Spurgeon, A New Year's Benediction, preached January 1, 1860.

[9] Jesus Freaks, p. 178.

[10] Ibid, pp. 141, 142.

[11] Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, p. 202.